A Business Owner’s Guide to Intellectual Property Misconceptions: 7 IP Myths to Nip in the Bud

Intellectual property - patent - copyright - thumbnail image

Businesses are more than the brick-and-mortar space they occupy. Some of a business’s most critical assets, such as intellectual property, can’t be felt or touched. Sadly, too many business owners fail to understand the value of their IP and thus leave it unprotected. These seven myths about IP show that it’s just as valuable as physical property. 

Myth #1: Intellectual property management is of secondary importance

Unfortunately, many enterprises fail to take time to manage their intellectual property. Managers and owners should work with attorneys to copyright, patent, or trademark their ideas. If you don’t, then anyone can take a concept and claim it (and any resulting profit) as their own. Patent law can be complicated and confusing, but providers of IP management software like Dennemeyer can help businesses cut through the red tape to manage their IP more effectively. 

Myth #2: Businesses own their staff’s ideas

When employees create ideas, business leaders automatically think the results of the ideas belong to the company. The only way a business can own the ideas of its employees is if the employees sign off on their ideas in a formal contract. Companies that want to protect their pre-existing intellectual property should require that all employees sign NDA documents.  

Myth #3:Trademarks protect intellectual property

Trademarks only protect the company’s name and a few other work-related aspects like symbols or phrases connected to the brand. Unfortunately, trademarks offer no protection for intellectual property. 

Myth #4: Patents establish global protection

When designers receive patents from the United States Patent Office, they only have legal protection within the United States. That means that companies need patent protection in other countries to protect ideas globally. Unfortunately, with close to two hundred countries on the planet, securing a patent in every country isn’t easy. IP management can be especially tricky for global brands for this reason. 

Myth #5:Trade secrets protect your intellectual property

Business owners with trade secrets think the legal recognition protects their intellectual property. This myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you create a patent, the details become public knowledge. So, companies that want to protect their secret sauces don’t like to share it in a patent. 

Unfortunately, keeping details secretive does not protect someone from reversing engineering your products or methods for their own use. Without legal protection, you have no recourse on stolen secrets. 

Myth #6: Businesses have time to protect their ideas

Businesses should not delay in protecting their unique ideas. Management should work with company attorneys once an enterprise has developed intellectual property. Without protection, it’s only a matter of time before another company steals the idea and makes it their own. If the other organization patents the product, then your business could face legal issues in the future. 

Myth #7 Businesses can protect their property without legal help

While it’s possible to protect intellectual property without an attorney, companies will have better protection by working with a legal expert. No one wants to lose their intellectual property. If you make a mistake on your DIY legal work, you could end up with destructive fiscal issues. 

Wrap up

Businesses should take time to protect and manage their intellectual property. Without protection, organizations could lose the one thing that differentiates them from other companies. 

Interesting Related Article: “What Are the Legal Issues Regarding Intellectual Property?”